Scripture Immersion: The Memorization Alternative

Sometime after college I figured out that scripture memorization is a lost cause for me. It’s quite simply one of the most demoralizing things for me. I’ve fasted for days, prayed for hours, read the Bible, journaled, and done all kinds of other disciplines.

My memory fails me.

So I did a little searching, trying to figure out what was going on. What I found is that I’m a big-picture person, the kind who prefers writing essays instead of multiple choice. After being challenged by another Christian to read five chapters of the Bible every day (trust me, I’m not 100% on that!), I found something.

I call this kind of reading “immersion.” When I read five chapters of the Bible, I dig into a nice chunk of the story and bend my mind into a Biblical framework.

Since I’m reading such a large section at each sitting–at least when compared to my standard “chapter a day” approach in the past–I have to spend a lot more time engaging the verses. In the process I find myself–surprise, surprise–memorizing scripture.

More importantly, when I throw myself into the world of the Bible I am often challenged and God tweaks my fragile world, challenging me with his truth. The Biblical world invades my own and leaves its mark, and part of that residue is scripture memorization, or at least a decent paraphrase.

Immersion is not “the way” to read or memorize the Bible, but for a wordy, narrative-loving guy like myself, it is refreshing to find other ways to deposit the scripture into my mind.

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4 thoughts on “Scripture Immersion: The Memorization Alternative

  1. RC of strangeculture

    I think a lot of people struggle with scripture memorization because it’s not a neccesary discipline (see latest post on my own blog for more).

    I personally have only recently begun memorizing scripture faster, and I find that IN USING the scripture in my everyday life (and the lives of others) the words “flesh” themselves out in incredible ways.

    -RC of

  2. Christopher

    Hmmmm, I am not sure that Scripture memorization is UNNECESSARY. In fact, I would say that it is a completely important and necessary discipline.

    This is definitely not something that I would say, “You are obviously not a Christian!” But anyone who would call Scripture unnecessary I would question their view of the importance of Scripture. Seems a little blunt, to be sure, but much like your article titled, “Pitfalls…” I like to catch people’s attention. :o)

  3. ed Post author

    Christopher, RC’s point is that you can be follower of Christ and have a high view of scripture without memorizing the Bible. In fact, I would go as far as saying that someone could have a high view of scripture without reading the Bible.

    How so? What of Christians who do not have access to the Bible in their own language or who cannot read?

    My own point is that we beat ourselves up and question our own commitment because we fail at memorizing the Bible. But straight memorization is but only one way to tuck scripture into our hearts and minds.

    The necessary thing is following Christ and being like him. The methods of getting there are wide open.

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